This can include the conditional and physical abuse that most people think of, as well as having the elder person directly give them assets; make them the power of attorney; and or rewriting estate planning documents to provide (more) for the abuser.
However, a lot of elder abuse is financial and committed by people who are not related or close to the individual. Caregivers make up the largest portion of these individuals. Obviously, they need to be screened. Agencies are helpful. However, they are not perfect. You need to talk to the candidate’s references.
Similar to the caregiver, people entering your house to do repairs, should be “checked out.” Has a friend used the handyman? How about the plumber, or electrician? I am not suggesting that a full scale background check be done on each person, but you must be satisfied that the individuals walking into your house are honest people.
While this is a cautionary post, I would like to note that the vast majority of caregivers are honest, caring and hard working people. I have seen that caregivers that have worked for friends of the elder person are often a way to go. In my own family, we are utilizing a family that previously worked for my uncle. They are amazing!
You may wish to arrange to have the monthly statements you are sent also sent to an adult child; family member; or advisor. It never hurts to have someone else monitor to make certain that nothing bad is taking place. If financial or any other form of abuse has occurred, it will be ascertained much sooner if someone else is monitoring the financial statements.
While this list is not exhaustive, as an estate planning attorney, I cannot stress enough how many times I have been called after elder abuse has been committed. I hope that in urging a more proactive approach I will receive a lot less of those calls.